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Social Anxiety Disorder
A persistent fear of one or more social or performance
situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar
people or to possible scrutiny by others. The individual fears
that he or she will act in a way (or show anxiety symptoms)
that will be embarrassing and humiliating.
Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) therapy has been shown to be effective for
Social Anxiety Disorder. Through ERP, we work together to discover the specific
triggers for your social anxiety. We then simulate a similar experience —visiting a
mall, preparing a public speech, or sparking a personal conversation, for
example—and address your anxiety at its root. By actively confronting anxiety in
real-life situations, your fear will gradually lessen as your confidence grows.
Available Programs for Social Anxiety Disorder
At GPS Psychology & Anxiety Clinic, we offer several programs for social anxiety disorder based
on your needs:
Meet with a highly-skilled therapist trained in Exposure Response Prevention. We’ll
primarily meet in our office, but feel the best method for treating social anxiety
disorder is venturing out into the community where your anxieties thrive.
The Adult Anxiety Group is open to anyone 18 or older struggling with anxiety. Meet
with others facing similar challenges, gain support from your peers, and share your
experiences. Similarly, the Teen Anxiety Group offers a safe environment for teens
between the ages of 12 - 17 to meet, connect, and support one another.
Working with Parents
You are not alone and we can help. Our team has extensive experience working with
children and teens. But we believe working with parents is equally, if not more,
important. We educate parents on understanding anxiety and recognizing the
difference between anxiety and stress. We also help with identifying well-intentioned
behaviors that may be maintaining your child’s anxiety. Most importantly, we train
parents on active listening enhancement and using empathy to build stronger
Social Anxiety Disorder often manifests during the teen years.
For parents, watching your child withdraw from social
situations can be heartbreaking. It can be challenging to know
what to say or how to help. Parents of younger children may
find it difficult to distinguish between simple shyness or the
onset of social anxiety. Below is a list of common behaviors
in children suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder:
Avoids eye contact
Fearful of criticism (“What if I do something stupid?...
What if I do or say the wrong thing?”)
Tantrums or crying when faced with a social situation
Reluctant to order in restaurants
Refusal to go to school
Avoids eating in public
Reluctant to use a public restroom
Excessive worry about appearance
Doesn’t like raising their hand in class
Saying “I’m sorry” often
Asking for reassurance (“Are you mad at me?...
Do you still like me?”)
If you suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder, you may feel isolated.
You may be unable to make new friends or meet a romantic
partner. Your anxiety may keep you from speaking up in meetings
or even eating in front of others. Social Anxiety Disorder can be
intensely lonely, but you’re not alone. You share it with nearly
15 million American adults.